How can Wolves finish the season?

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It’s been over three months since that behind closed doors match in Athens that ended in a 1-1 draw.

Little did we know it would be the last football match we would watch in a while. The Covid-19  pandemic is what brought all action to a sudden stop.  After lockdown, many regulations and precautions put in place, the wait for Premier League action is almost over.  Action resumes tonight with Aston Villa facing Sheffield United and Man City facing Arsenal. Wolves will have to wait to play their first match as they face West Ham United at the London Stadium on Saturday.

What’s next for Wolves?

Before we start looking at the upcoming fixtures and how the season could pan out, let’s have a look at how we Wolves were getting on before the pause.

Wolves amassed a total of 9 points in the last 5 matches (2 wins and 3 draws), placing Wolves in 6th with 43 points – 5 points away from 4th placed Chelsea and 5 points ahead of 12th placed Everton.

You could throw a blanket over the clubs placed between 5th and 10th in the league as the race for European football qualification hots up. Any dropped points could be costly.

Wolves have also progressed well in the Europa League. Wolves are currently in the last 16 having already played and drawn the first leg 1-1 away vs Olympiacos.

UEFA have announced that  Europa League quarters, semis and final will be one-off knockout games and will be mini-tournament to be held in Germany from August 10th to the 21st. Wolves v Olympiakos 2nd leg is on either August 5/6 but a decision has yet to be made on whether the game will be played at Molineux or in Germany.

The times, dates and locations for Wolves’ first three fixtures have already been confirmed by the Premier League. The times, dates and locations for the remaining five fixtures are still to be confirmed by the league. 

Unfortunately, all these fixtures are behind closed doors and the congregation of fans outside the stadiums will not be tolerated, resulting in the suspension of the respective match.  Obviously, one of the problems caused by this is what will happen to all the season ticket holders?  Wolves have informed that they will issue all season ticket holders free Now Tv passes so they can watch all the Wolves fixtures on Sky Sports. Along with this and the many great initiatives Wolves have had, they gave the fans the opportunity to see their faces appear in the South Bank for the remaining four home matches. 

Wolves’ run-in and concluding the season

The only team that Wolves will have to face that are currently above them in the table is Chelsea, on the final day but Wolves shouldn’t underestimate their other opponents. All of the remaining fixtures are winnable, it would be unrealistic for me to say we would win them all though. That’s why I’m going to say we will end up getting around 20 points placing us in 5th position. 

As for the Europa League, I honestly believe we could go all the way and win it.  I also see the fact that it will be played in August once our Premier League season is over, as a plus because it lets us focus on one competition at a time.  I am cautious side though because I think the task isn’t easy and the teams we could face in the following knockout games aren’t all easy opponents.  Let’s not forget as well that we still have a last round of 16 game vs Olympiacos to think about.

In regards to what a successful season would be, I think placing 6th is a must for us, anything above a bonus – 7th would be a bit frustrating and a hassle to have to play all the qualifying matches to get to the Europa League group stages. For the Europa League,  I think getting to the Semi-finals would be seen as successful but I’m happy we are in it and I don’t think there is a set objective, we take it game by game, push ourselves and see how far we can get.  Who says we can’t dream of bigger things anyway, as Nuno once said: “Dreaming is for free”.

Matthew Gentile is part of the Talking Wolves editorial team – you can follow him on Twitter here.